Thomas W. Simons, Jr.

Thomas W. Simons, Jr., PhD


11 Buena Vista Park
Cambridge, MA 02140

(617) 864-6528 (voice)


Thomas W. Simons, Jr. was especially active on CISAC's projects on Asian Regional Security and Economic Development and on Nuclear Safety in South Asia. He was born September 4, 1938, in Crosby, Minnesota. He holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Yale (1958) and an M.A. and Ph.D. (1959 and 1963) from Harvard, specializing in West and Central European history. He was Adjunct Professor of History at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1989-1990 and Consulting Professor of 20th Century International History in Stanford's History Department in 1998-2002. He is currently Director of the Program on Eurasia in Transition at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and Provost's Visiting Professor at Cornell.

Simons has written extensively on Central and East European history and culture, U.S. policy on East-West relations and South Asia, and Islamic history. He is the author of three books, The End of the Cold War?, a brief history of East-West relations in the 1980's (1990), and Eastern Europe in the Postwar World, a history of the area's Communist period (2nd revised edition 1993), both published by St. Martin's Press, and Islam in a Globalizing World, published by Stanford University Press in 1993, an analytical survey of Islam's history from the beginning to today, based on the Payne Distinguished Lectures of the same title he gave at IIS in 2002. At Stanford he also taught courses on the International System since 1914, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan in the 20th Century, and Varieties of Islamic Revival since 1870.

Between 1963 and 1998, Simons was a member of the United States Foreign Service, retiring with the rank of Career Minister. He served first on the U.S. Delegation to the Kennedy Round of GATT trade negotiations, 1964-1967. Thereafter, he spent most of his career working in East-West relations. Assignments included Embassy Warsaw, 1968-1971; conventional arms reductions and European security issues in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs of the State Department, 1972-1974; member of the Department's Policy Planning Staff, 1974-1975; Embassy Moscow (including a period as acting political counselor), 1975-1977; deputy chief of Mission at Embassy Bucharest, 1977-1979; and political counselor at Embassy London, 1979-1981. In the 1980's, Simons achieved the record for tenure as director of the Office of Soviet Union Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, 1981-1985, and served as deputy assistant Secretary of State responsible for relations with the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Yugoslavia, 1986-1989. He was American Ambassador to Poland, 1990-1993; coordinator of U.S. Assistance to the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, based in Washington, 1993-1995; and American Ambassador to Pakistan, 1996-1998. He speaks French, German, Polish, Romanian, and some Russian.

Simons and his wife Peggy live most of the year in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have two grown children.